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Behind the Scene Story:Steve McQueen

Terence Steven “Steve” McQueen, born 1930 was called “The King of Cool”. He received an Academy Award nomination for his role in “The Sand Pebbles”. His other popular films include “The Cincinnati Kid”, “The Thomas Crown Affair”, “Bullitt”, “The Getaway”, and “Papillon”, as well as the all-star ensemble films “The Magnificent Seven”, “The Great Escape”, and “The Towering Inferno”. In 1974, he became the highest-paid movie star in the world, although he did not act in films again for four years. He was combative with directors and producers, but his popularity placed him in high demand and enabled him to command large salaries.


Stunts, Stars and Legends:
Born James Sherwin Ekins in Hollywood, California, he is known to most as the actor who jumped the fence on a disguised Triumph TR6 Trophy 650cc motorcycle in “The Great Escape”, and one of the stuntmen Bud Ekinswho drove the Ford Mustang 390 GT in “Bullitt”. He also coordinated the stunts for the popular 1970s motorcycle cop show “CHIPS”.
For years, movie fans believed that the star Steve McQueen made the big barbed-wire fence jump at the finale of “The Great Escape” but the stunt was actually performed by Ekins. Although McQueen undertook the rest of the bike work in the film, the film’s producers were too nervous to allow him to make the iconic jump himself. Five years later, McQueen was given a late call to the “Bullit” set one day, and found Ekins with his hair sprayed blond performing the most dangerous stunts around the streets of San Francisco. McQueen then shouted “you did it to me again!” referring to the earlier scene-stealing from “The Great Escape”. Ekins regularly contributed to documentaries and biographies on Steve McQueen with some authority, given their close friendship until the actor’s death in 1980.


If interested in learning more about the Hall of Fame, please contact John Hagner (Founder) at 435 260-2160.
Hall of Fame website:

John Hagner (Founder) is also the Artist of the Stars.
His Celebrity Portrait Drawings are available at telephone 435-259-7000,
Mailing address: 50 W. 400 N, Moab, Utah 84532.
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